Peter Benoit (1834-1901) was a Belgian composer and teacher responsible for the modern revival of Flemish music. He studied at the Brussels Conservatory and in 1857 won the Grand Prix de Rome. He travelled in Germany and in 1861 went to France where he conducted at the Bouffes-Parisiens.
Back in Belgium (after 1863) he came under the influence of the novelist Hendrik Conscience, becoming an ardent proponent of a Flemish national movement in music. Benoit published numerous articles and pamphlets promoting Flemish music.
In 1867 he founded the Flemish School of Music in Antwerp (later the Royal Flemish Conservatory) which he directed until his death. His compositions include his “Rubens-cantata” (1877) which evoked historical events in Antwerp, the operas “Het dorp in ‘t gebergte” (The Mountain Village - 1857) and “Pompeja” (1895) and the oratorio “Lucifer” (1866) which is considered his masterpiece.
He turned from his early innovative, harmonic style to one of simplicity. Most of his compositions were choral, many intended to be sung by the common people.